Another food lover’s visit in Mexico
We love having guests on VOAHANGY. We are lucky to have friends and family who occasionnally are prepared to travel all over the world to catch up with us. Of course, basing ourselves in popular destinations like France, USA or Mexico help, making it easy (if not cheap) to visit us.
We recently said goodbye to our latest guest, Elaine, who decided to join us in Puerto Aventuras for a week. Our friendship goes back over 20 years, when we worked together in Sydney as investment accountants (a lifetime ago in my books!) Sharing a mutual love of food and travel, she has followed us over the years in our crazy sailing adventures and holds the distinction of spending time on ALL of our 4 boats in places as varied as Cairns, Sydney, La Rochelle and Noumea. Which means she is particularly appreciative of the various galley designs we’ve been through, as well as the fun and challenges of putting together great meals with whatever is available.
Only staying 6 days, there was no time for an overnight road trip to Merida or even a day excursion to Chichen Itza ruins. The rain made sure of that for 2 whole days. Perfect opportunity to stay home and stuff ourselves with Australian confectionery (generously supplied by our boat “mule”), catch up with the latest food news (Mexican food is all the rage in Australia right now, Terry should be pleased!), share new recipes and bake like mad (zucchini muffins anyone?).
But of course our friend wanted to taste “real” Mexican food (as opposed to australianised), and I’m always happy to eat someone else’s cooking so we embarked on a whirlwind tour of local restaurants starting with:
- Latitudes 20 and Pete’s famous shrimp tacos and Margaritas (he adds a little Jamaican flavour to his food, that’s what makes him different!)
- Jessie’s Gelato and Marten’s “to die for” mandarin as well as caramel gelato. Ok, that’s not really mexican, it was a field trip, to find the perfect ice cream to mix with Maltesers, Elaine’s signature dessert (besides apple crumble!)
- Pelican Point for an upmarket dinner of very un-mexican cuisine. In fact it is Terry’s favourite place in Puerto since instead of tacos, the menu features dishes like French onion soup, pork chops and potato gratin, or seared tuna with exotic sauces. All appealing on the plate but in my opinion, poorly executed, trying to blend so many flavours one can’t really identify what the dishes are about. Think, massively thick pork chop stuffed with blue cheese and served with BBQ sauce, or rare tuna steak covered with too many sesame seeds and wrapped in raw prosciutto ham…Hummmm, sometimes simple is best, and Elaine scored with her simply grilled fish and vegetables, with no sauces (“I want to taste the fish, not the garlic!” smart girl.) Terry still thinks highly of the place, mainly for the service. I find it over solicitous, but when it comes to cold beer served 10 seconds after merely nodding at your empty glass, my husband is won-over. I doubt that we will find that kind of efficiency back in Australia!
- For a casual lunch at the beach, you can’t beat Tulum. And as soon as the sun came out, that’s where we headed, Ziggy Beach Club to be exact: toes in the sand, under the shade of coconut trees, sipping the most potent margaritas I’ve ever had, overlooking the Caribbean sea…we had the pleasure of our son’s company (a very rare occasion these days) which led to fascinating conversations about climate change, capitalism vs socialism, how to start a business, and the future of electronic music! But I disgress, back to the food: the tequila shrimp tacos were fantastic, even better than Pete’s (sorry!), the tuna tartare with mango and avocado salsa delicious though not enough to fill a 15 year old growing boy (ordered an extra chicken wrap for Marc). Terry stuck to his no-tacos diet and enjoyed a burger. As he says, the company and the view was the best.
- We saved Cozumel for Elaine’s last day. It had been on our list of places to visit, for the diving and snorkelling. However our long lunch at Tulum the day before left us in no condition for diving. We still hopped on the ferry from Playa del Carmen (where the staff wander around offering beer and tequila at 10am!), hired an open-top Jeep and drove around the island. Terry decided to spend the day on a pub crawl, Elaine and I thought we could continue our quest for Cocina Mexicana and squeezed in some shrimp nachos as an early lunch at Punta Morenas. Not sure all this cheese and black bean sauce were good for us, as for the second (and last) food stop at Carlos ‘n Charlies Beach Club we unanimously decided we had enough of Mexican food and ordered BBQ ribs instead. All was washed down with limonada natural and water ( yes, I sometimes go alcohol- free) except for Terry, of course. Just as well, the restaurant provided lounge chairs and umbrellas for him to nap, while the rest of us enjoyed a very long swim.
At the time of writing, our friend is back in Sydney and reported that she has not eaten a single taco since Mexico. I must say, I have not either. In fact, we seemed to have overdone the Mexican theme, and reverted back to “boat food” with more familiar French flavours. Indeed, no beans, no limes, no chilies, not even a tortilla or guacamole for the past week. Could this be the end of my love affair with Mexican food?